Friday, July 3, 2020

Derby, Jockey Club, Coral Eclipse, F1, EPL, Sports at its best

Glorious, simply glorious week-end of sports coming up. Premier League, Derby, Oaks, Coral Eclipse, Prix du Jockey Club. Formula 1. Just fantastic!

Let's start with the EPL. Late rumours of Fernandes and Pogba being injured in training today have surfaced but even without the pair, the Red Devils should be too good for Bournemouth. Looking at the remaining matches, Man Utd look to have an excellent chance to sneak into that 4th UCL spot but Fernandes must stay injury-free. Leicester can finally start some much-needed momentum by beating visiting Crystal Palace.

Let's go racing; I cannot recall a more exciting week-end of racing than this. First, the Derby where I really like how English King is going into it. He hit the line really well in the Lingfield Trial and he is certain to stay. If he takes to the cambers of Epsom, he must have a leading chance. People talk of Kameko, the Guineas winner. I am not certain this fellow will stay and the predicted rain will not help his chances. I like each-way chances of Mohican Heights and Russian Emperor as well.

Now the Oaks. Sure, Love looks a worthy favourite after a tremendous 1000 Guineas romp. She won't like the wet conditions though. If there is a filly I have been impressed with, it's Frankly Darling from the Gosden stable. Her Ribblesdale victory at Ascot put her a class of her own. I think she can upset Love.

The Coral Eclipse Stakes on Sunday looks as good a race as any in the past years. I mean, we have Enable, the best horse of the past couple of years, Japan, Deidre and Ghaiyyath, all fantastic Group 1 winners in their own right. I think Enable will need the race and is thus beatable on her return. Her main aim is the Arc, so getting beat here will be no issue for connections. Deidre will be vulnerable too on her return and the Arc is also her main aim this year. This leaves Japan and Ghaiyyath. I laid Japan at Ascot as he was always going to need the run in a hot contest. He did well to finish not too far off the winner. He should be very fit for this one. Ghaiyyath must show he can put in 2 great races in a row. Apparently he should now be able to, according to trainer Appleby. If he can now consistently put in his relentless front pace without fading, he can be the monster Godolphin fans want him to be. I will side with Japan here. Enable really looks vulnerable on her seasonal bow.

The French will be having their Derby as well in the Prix du Jockey Club. Victor Ludorum should be at the finish although he might be vulnerable to an outsider. I will opt for Ludorum for the safe place. The Fillies equivalent, the Prix Diane looks too competitive to call.

Finally, Formula 1 is back and Lewis Hamilton should be the dominant again; unless Red Bull or Ferrari have tremendously improved their cars. Unless contrarily proven, looks best to side with Hamilton again this year.

Happy punting!


Win Derby: English King
Each-way Derby: Mohican Heights, Russian Emperor
Win Oaks; Frankly Darling
Win Coral Eclipse: Japan
Sell Coral Eclipse: Enable
Place Jockey Club: Victor Ludorum
Win: Man Utd, Leicester

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

EPL 2019/20 - Week 32

Brighton v Man Utd - Away
Bournemouth v Newcastle - Home
Arsenal v Norwich - Home
Everton v Leicester - Draw
West Ham v Chelsea - Away
Sheffield Utd v Tottenham - Draw
Man City v Liverpool - Home

So Liverpool are finally champions. A big question mark will be on the focus of the players till the end of the season. There might be talk of setting the overall points record but the motivation will certainly not be up to par with persevering to win the league.

On the other hand, Man Utd are motivated. They need a UCL spot and seem to have good momentum building after an ecouraging draw at Spurs and demolishing Sheffield Utd in their last match. With forwards Martial and Rashford backed by the dynamic duo of Fernandes and Pogba, the Red Devils have a lot of ammunition in their arsenal. They should beat Brighton fair and square.

Arsenal should start a good sequence of positive results after 2 terrible defeats. There is no better team to play right now than Norwich which looks destined for the drop. This should be a canter for the Gunners.

Finally, I see outgoing champions Man City defeating newly-elect champions Liverpool. They should do their utmost to come on top as a badge of honor while the Kops are probably still in party mode as I write this. Not the best preparation when visiting Guardiola's men.

Win: Man City, Man Utd, Arsenal

Saturday, June 20, 2020

St James Palace Stakes 2019 - It will be a P in the win column

I think Saturday's St James Palace Stakes will be a battle between the P's; I cannot find anything else other than Pinatubo or Palace Pier to win this. Many favour Wichita from Ballydoyle after his excellent second place in the 2000 Guineas but I believe that was a one-off and the 2 above-mentioned are better milers.

Pinatubo was the biggest loser that day, losing his invincible record and glossy reputation in the process. In my view, although he disappointed somewhat, he still proved to be a leading miler of his generation. If that outing prepped him up well, he will definitely be the one to beat. I also believe the soft ground will play in his favour and the ground at Newmarket might have been a bit too quick for him.

The dark horse of the race is Palace Pier, an unbeaten son of Kingman. He has won all his 3 races to date with relative ease albeit in rather minor company, but has shown the trademark of a top-class horse. He's now thrown in the deep end and I think he's the progressive type that can challenge the Godolphin star.  He might be the horse with the least rating in the field but it wouldn't surprise me if this race puts him as one of the leaders of this year's mile category.

At current odds, I would double on both as to win.

Win: Pinatubo/Palace Pier

Thursday, June 18, 2020

EPL 2019/2020 - Week 30

Welcome back!

The EPL gets back to normality after a 3-month break that rightly put football to its status of non-necessity compared to the difficulties everyone was facing during the pandemic. Hope every one is safe and staying safe. If the EPL season had folded, it would have been an ok decision to leave with but playing behind closed doors looks a right decision as well. The motive may have been political with broadcast rights and potential penalties at the forefront of the reasoning, but I'm sure that the majority of fans will appreciate the resumption of matches, however hollow it looks like watching empty stadiums.

From a punter's perspective, home advantage might be of less significance with the withdrawal of the supporters, a team's 12th man. This has to be factored in the predictions for sure. What also will factor are the dynamics facing the teams for the remainder of the season. Liverpool will have won the league in the coming weeks and will surely put off their foot from the pedal gas. Clubs vying for a Champions League spot will tbe the ones with most to play for. At the bottom end of the spectrum, the specter of relegation will motivate the ones fighting for survival. Happy rest of the season!

Norwich v Southampton - Draw
Tottenham v Man Utd - Home
Watford v Leicester - Home
Brighton v Arsenal - Away
West Ham v Wolves - Away
Bournemouth v Crystal Palace - Home
Newcastle v Sheffield Utd - Away
Aston Villa v Chelsea - Away
Everton v Liverpool - Home
Man City v Burnley - Home

I think Tottenham have a nice hand to play against visiting Man Utd. The Red Devils have been one of the in-form teams before the break but I fear they will have to work over again to regain their momentum. The arrival of Bruno Fernandes has been a major boost to Solksjaer's team and I expect them to get even better as the weeks go by with the returns of Rashford and Pogba, but going to White Hart Lane for a first match is going to be tough. Mourinho will have Spurs ready with an air of revenge against his former employers. This match also marks the return of Harry Kane after a lengthy layoff although the England marksman is bound to be rusty. I believe Spurs will edge this, I just don't see the Red Devils snatching the full points.

Win: Tottenham






Friday, February 21, 2020

EPL 2019/20 - Week 27


Chelsea v Tottenham - Home
Burnley v Bournemouth - Home
Crystal Palace v Newcastle - Away
Sheffield Utd v Brighton - Home
Southampton v Aston Villa - Home
Leicester v Man City - Home
Man Utd v Watford - Home
Wolves v Norwich - Home
Arsenal v Everton - Home
Liverpool v West Ham - Home

I see a lot of home wins this week-end, make your pick really.  Leicester looks the best value of them all as they entertain Man City. The defending champions have clearly given up on the Premier League and will rely on the Champions League to salvage a somewhat disappointing season so far. Their battle off-field against a 2-year UCL suspension is proving to be a distraction they could do without. Leicester have nothing to lose going into this match and any point will be a bonus. With Vardy upfront and the shrewdness of manager Rogers, they are capable of landing all 3 points. A below-par Citizens team will have problems against a home side with a strong record at the King Power stadium. It might be worth going for a straight home win here.

Win: Leicester

Friday, January 31, 2020

EPL 2019/20 - Week 25


Leicester v Chelsea - Home
Bournemouth v Aston Villa - Away
Crystal Palace v Sheffield Utd - Away
Liverpool v Southampton - Home
Newcastle v Norwich - Home
Watford v Everton - Home
West Ham v Brighton - Draw
Man Utd v Wolves - Draw
Burnley v Arsenal - Away
Tottenham v Man City - Draw


Wow! Ighalo for Man Utd. I am not sure how that is going to work for the Red Devils. The coming of Bruno Fernandes looks, however, promising; the Portuguese looks really a great addition. That said, Man Utd have a tough match on Saturday against Wolves. The visitors are gunning for a European place and are in good form with the likes of Jimenez and Traore firing on all cylinders. I believe they can squeeze at least a point out of Old Trafford. The Red Devils are in much need of firepower in attack after the injury to Rashford and although Fernandes will eventually make his mark as an offensive weapon, the match will probably come too soon for him to make the impact needed. A draw-no-bet or outright win on Wolves could be rewarding.

Draw-no-bet or Win: Wolves

Monday, January 20, 2020

EPL 2019/20 - Week 24

Bournemouth v Brighton - Home
Aston Villa v Watford - Draw
Crystal Palace v Southampton - Draw
Everton v Newcastle - Home
Sheffield Utd v Man City - Away
Chelsea v Arsenal - Home
Leicester v West Ham - Home
Tottenham v Norwich - Home
Man Utd v Burnley - Home
Wolves v Liverpool - Home

I can punt all day against Liverpool going unbeaten this season. They won't. They might go unbeaten at home but they will flinch one or more times on the road. They rode their luck on their last road trip at Spurs where Mourinho's men had glorious chances to at least tie the match but they were just missing a finisher like Harry Kane upfront. Wolves will present another stern challenge to Klopp's men and it might be worth siding with the home side taking at least a point out of the champions-elect. The Wanderers are one of the form teams of the moment and play with great resilience and purpose under Nuno Santo. Their team sheet is certainly inferior to the Kops but their never-say-die attitude, as Southampton attested to last Saturday, will pose problems for the visitors. A draw-no-bet on Wolves can be rewarding.

Draw-no-bet: Wolves

Friday, January 17, 2020

EPL 2019/20 - Week 23

Watford v Tottenham - Draw
Arsenal v Sheffield Utd - Home
Brighton v Aston Villa - Home
Man City v Crystal Palace - Home
Norwich v Bournemouth - Home
Southampton v Wolves - Draw
West Ham v Everton - Draw
Newcastle v Chelsea - Away
Burnley v Leicester - Away
Liverpool v Man Utd - Home

Mikael Arteta is doing a good impression in his managerial debut at Arsenal. The Gunners are playing with renewed confidence and purpose. They seem to have that extra edge to them, something they were sorely lacking under Emery. This Gunners team is on the ascendancy like their manager. Sheffield Utd has often proven a tough nut to crack even for the best teams in the EPL. They are a well organized team that is hard to break down. At current odds, I find it worth chancing with the home team; they should have enough to edge this even without their talismanic striker Aubagmeyang.

Chelsea are on a mazy run, throwing dud games when they are expected to win and getting results in the unlikeliest situations. Lampard's men should have enough in them to go beat Newcastle at St James Park. Steve Bruce's men have over-extended themselves so far but they don't have the quality to compete as a top 10 team. The Blues should be able to control this match and get the points they badly need to have a good hold of the all-important fourth and final UCL spot.

Win: Chelsea, Arsenal

Friday, January 10, 2020

EPL 2019/20 - Week 22


Crystal Palace v Arsenal - Home
Chelsea v Burnley - Home
Everton v Brighton - Draw
Leicester v Southampton - Home
Man Utd v Norwich - Home
Wolves v Newcastle - Draw
Tottenham v Liverpool - Home
Bournemouth v Watford - Draw
Aston Villa v Man City - Away

Liverpool will win the league but that doesn't mean that they will go unbeaten throughout. Their odds are decidedly way too short as they visit Spurs on Saturday. Ok, Kane will not play and this will be a hard blow for the home team. But even without his irreplaceable striker, Mourinho still has a potent squad at his disposal to breach the Kop defence. The likes of Son, Moura and Ali have goals in them and it will not be surprising if the Portuguese can hatch a plan to inflict a first defeat for the visitors this season. At current prices, it will be rewarding to go for a straight Spurs win and the less-risky draw-no-bet makes appeal as well.

Win, Draw-no-bet: Tottenham